Three Habits You Need to Let go of in Order to Eat Healthy

As we get back into fall routines, I’ve noticed three habits that hold people back from making positive changes to their nutrition and lifestyle. 

This week, I will debunk these three concepts that could hold you back from making those positive changes.


When looking to change how we eat, whether to lose weight, feel better or simply have more energy, we all look for outside validation of our progress, such as stepping on the scale to see what that number is.

In addition, many apps and programs are number-driven, from intake information, weight, height, age, hours of sleep, etc., which results in counting calories to measuring the exact amount of food needed. Numbers can be helpful, but they are not everything when looking at nutrition and lifestyle. Numbers do not give us information on how we feel, our energy and motivation, or how tired and sluggish we may feel. 

We all have different lives, stresses and needs, yet we give these numbers more value than what our body tells us. If you have made positive changes and feel more energetic, stepping on the scale and seeing a number that may not have changed much will make you question what you have done wrong or if the changes are worth it. This reaction may sound familiar as it happens all too often.

Instead, you need to start paying more attention to the internal signals that your body is giving you, such as being aware of your increased energy levels, diminished sugar cravings, or reduced bloating. These signs acknowledge that the changes are positive, leading to a healthier and happier lifestyle.

Once you recognize that you are starting to feel better, getting back to those changes is easier if you get off track — it’s the difference between feeling just okay and good.

Eating the same meals consistently

Many diets and apps often have a restrictive nature that focuses on always eating the same foods. In doing so, we are limiting the variety of foods in our diet, which impacts the health of our gut bacteria. To flourish and do well, our gut requires a variety of foods over time. The reduced gut bacteria, in turn, affects the efficiency of our immune system and other bodily functions. Eating the rainbow, meaning a variety of vegetables of all colours, is much better for our overall health as it provides our body with a variety of vitamins and nutrients needed to function well, therefore supporting our gut bacteria and immune system. 

Learning or building on skills such as meal planning or meal prepping not only takes the stress out of our day (we know what we’re having for dinner) but allows us to slowly incorporate a variety of vegetables and grains into our diets so that we end up eating seasonally which makes the most of the nutritional content of the food we eat.

Planning, prepping and thinking of the bigger picture ensures that the food in our diet is not only fun but varied.  

Cheat day

Our body is constantly looking to be in balance or what is known as ‘homeostasis.’ Yoyo dieting or restrictive diets puts your body — that’s trying to stay in balance — under stress. 

Cheat days where you are still ‘allowed’ unhealthy foods may be appealing. However, I find that this concept is misleading and not helpful. It leads to certain foods being labelled as ‘good’ or ‘bad’; when you overindulge in ‘bad’ foods on your cheat day, you regret it and feel stressed. Eliminating cheat days allows you to realize that when you eat well 80 percent of the time, you can enjoy a take-out pizza night, a friend’s wedding, or a birthday celebration without guilt or shame.

Letting go of these constraints will help you achieve the changes you want to make while ensuring you enjoy your meals and special occasions.

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 Photo: iStock